The Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has confirmed the identities of two men who died Monday in a midair collision north of Fredericksburg. Paul Gardella, Jr., 57, of Burke, was a passenger in the Beechcraft BE-35 piloted by James M. Duncan, 60, of Bethesda, Md. Both died in the crash.
The Beechcraft BE-35 and a Piper PA-28, owned by Thomas R. Proven, 70, of Broad Run, collided about five miles from the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Sumerduck, which is about 30 miles north of Fredericksburg, according to Fredericksburg Patch.
Proven crash landed the Piper in a field and was transported to Mary Washington Hospital, where he was in good condition as of Tuesday morning. The BE-35 crashed in a wooded area and the plane caught on fire, killing both the Duncan and Gardella.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating Monday's crash because the two planes involved are registered to federal employees. Proven is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employee. The BE-35 is registered to James M. and Candace H. Duncan of Eagle Ridge Drive in Bethesda, Md. James Duncan is a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) employee.
NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman consulted with FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta, and they decided to ask the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to conduct the investigation.
"This accident hits especially close to home, with the involvement of an NTSB employee," Hersman said. "I'm grateful to TSB-Canada Chair Wendy Tadros for agreeing to conduct the investigation and the NTSB stands ready to support and assist them in any way we can."
NTSB investigator Paul Cox will serve as the NTSB's Accredited Representative to the TSB investigation. Chris Krepski, a media spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said they sent three investigators to the scene in Fauquier County.